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Ideality

Ideality

Heality

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W* COBBETT

J.J.KDUSSEAT

Drawn & Engraved for the Phren:' Journal 1° 4P. 198 by Cha Thomson Edinburgh

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DR GALL gives the following account of the discovery of this organ. The first poet whose head arrested his attention on account of its form, was one of his friends, who frequently composed extempore verses when least expected to do so, and who had thereby acquired a sort of reputation, although in other respects a very ordinary person. His forehead, immediately above the nose, rose perpendicularly, then retreated, and extended itself a good deal laterally, as if a part had been added on each side. He recollected having seen the same form in the bust of Ovid. In other poets he did not find, as a constant circumstance, the forehead first perpen. dicular, and then retreating; so that he regarded this shape as accidental; but in all of them he observed the prominences in the anterior lateral parts of the head, above the temples. He began then to look upon these prominences as the distinctive marks of a natural talent for poetry; but still he spoke to his hearers on the subject with a degree of doubt; especially as at this period he was not convinced that a talent for poetry depended on a primitive mental faculty. : He waited, therefore, before deciding definitely, till he had made a greater number of observations.

Vol. I.-No. IV.

2 K

A short time afterwards, he got the head of the poet Alxinger, in which this part of the brain, and also the organ of Adhesiveness, are very much developed, while the other portions are so only in a small degree. A little after this, the poet Jünger died; and Gall found also in his head the same prominences. He found the same parts still larger in the poet Blumauer, with a large organ of Wit. At this time, Wilhelmine Maisch acquired reputation at Vienna by his poetry; and the same enlargement was found in his head above the temples. Dr Gall observed the same organization in Madame Laroche, at Offenbach, near Francfort; in Angelique Kaŭffmann; in Sophia Clementina of Merken; in Klopstock ; in Schiller, of whom he has a mask ; and also in Gessner of Zurich. In Berlin he continued to speak of this organ still with considerable reserve, when M. Nicolai invited him and Dr Spurzheim to see a collection of about thirty busts of poets in his possession. They found in every one of them the part in question projecting more or less considerably, according as the talent was manifested in a higher or lower degree by each poet. From that moment he taught boldly, that the talent for poetry depends on a primitive faculty, and that it is connected with this part of the brain as its special organ.

In Paris Dr Gall moulded the head of Legouvé after his death, and found this organ large. He and Dr Spurzheim opened the head of the late Delille, and pointed out to several physicians who were present the full development of the convolutions placed under the external prominences at this part: these convolutions projected beyond all the others. Dr Gall preserves the cast of one of the hemispheres of the brain ; so that this statement may still be verified. In a rather numerous assemblage, Dr Gall was asked what he thought of a little man, who sat at a considerable distance from him? As it was rather dark, he said, that in truth he could not see him very distinctly, but that he observed, nevertheless, the organ of poetry extremely developed. He was then informed, that this was the famous poet François, generally

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named Cordonnier, from his having been bred a shoemaker. * “If we pass in review," says Dr Gall," the portraits and busts of the poets of all ages, we shall find this configuration of head “common to them all; as in Pindar, Euripides, Sophocles, Hé“ raclides, Plautus, Terence, irgil, Tibullus, Ovid, Horace, “ Juvenal, Boccacio, Ariosto, Arétin, Tasso, Milton, Boileau, “J. B. Rousseau, Pope, Young, Grosset, Voltaire, Gessner, “ Klopstock, Wieland, &c.” Dr Bailly, in a letter dated Rome, 30th May, 1822, addressed to Dr Brayer, says, “ You may tell “ Dr Gall, that I have a mask of Tasso, taken from nature, and

that, although part of the organ of Poetry be cut off, never“ theless the lateral breadth of the cranium in this direction is enormous."

The bust of Homer presents an extraordinary develop: ment at this part of the head. It is doubted whether it is authentic; but be it real or ideal, the existence of the prominence is remarkable. If it is ideal, why was the artist led to give this particular form, which is the only one in accordance with nature? If he modelled the head of the most disa tinguished poet of his day, as the best representative of Homer, the existence of this development is still a fact in favour of the organ.

In an hospital, Dr Gall found this organ considerably developed in a man who was insane; and remarked to the physicians who accompanied him, that he observed the exterior sign which indicated a talent for poetry. He possessed this talent in point of fact; for in his state of alienation, he continually composed verses, which sometimes were not deficient in point and vigour. He belonged to the lowest class, and had received no education. In the collection of M. Esquirol, Dr Gall saw a mask of an insane person, who also was habitually occupied in versifying; and in it the organ in question is considerably larger than any of the others.

So far Dr Gall. Dr Spurzheim observes,—“ It is im, “ possible that Poetry in general should be confined to one single organ; and I therefore think that the name

organ of Poetry “ does not indicate its essential faculty.”—“ In every kind of

A cast of the head of this individual is in the Phrenological Society's Collection, Edinburgh, and in De Ville's, London. The organ in question is uncommonly large.

poetry, the sentiments are exalted, the expressions warm; and “there must be rapture, inspiration, what is commonly called " imagination or fancy." This emotion, then, of exalted enthusiasm, Dr Spurzheim considers to be the primitive function, and he names the faculty Ideality, and in this we agree with him.

The following account of it is given in Mr Combeos “Essays on Phrenology:"-" This is a sentiment: it gives only

a manner of feeling, and does not form ideas. It produces the

feeling of exquisitiveness or perfectibility, and is delighted “ with what the French call · Le beau idéal. It is this faculty “ which gives inspiration to the poet. The knowing and re“ flecting faculties perceive qualities as they exist in nature; but " this faculty desires for its gratification something more ex

quisitely perfect than the scenes of reality. It desires to ele“vate and to endow with a splendid excellence every object

presented to the mind. It stimulates the faculties which form " ideas to create scenes, in which every object is invested with “the qualities which it delights to contemplate, rather than with “the degree of excellence which nature usually bestows. It “is this faculty which inspires exaggeration and enthusiasm, “ which prompts to embellishment and splendid conceptions. " It gives a manner of feeling and of thinking, befitting the

regions of fancy, rather than the abodes of men. Hence, those "only on whom it is powerfully bestowed can possibly be poets, “ and hence the proverb, · Poeta nascitur non fit.

“ Individuals differ exceedingly in regard to the endowment of this faculty which they possess. According to the energy and activity of it, poetry is prized or relished. I have met “individuals who declared that they could perceive no excel" lence in poetical compositions, and could derive no gratifica" tion from them ; and yet such individuals were endowed with

every degree of understanding and penetration, according as " they possessed the other faculties strongly or weakly, and

were not uniformly deficient, either in moral sentiments or “ judgment, in proportion to their want of poetic fire.

“ This faculty gives a peculiar tinge to all the other faculties, “ It makes them, in every thing, aspire to ideality. A cast of “ the human head is a plain transcript of nature, elevated and adorned by the ideality of a Chantry or a Joseph. Add a “ large development of this organ to the reflecting powers, and it expands the field of their interest ; carries them outwards, " and forwards, and upwards; and causes them to delight in "schemes of improvement. In common life, we may easily dis“ tinguish those who have from those who have not a consider“able endowment of it. The former speak in general in an “elevated strain of language, and, when animated, show a

splendour of eloquence and of poetical feeling, which the lat“ ter are never able to command. It gives to conversation a

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